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Importance of foot retention

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Importance of foot retention

Old 07-27-21, 06:24 AM
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LarrySellerz
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Importance of foot retention

Sup guys, how important do you think foot retention is for road bikes? Someone I ride with has been bugging me to get clipped in. I thought it was just for speed but apparently it's for safety as well because my feet could slip off the pedals at an intense pace? This doesn't really make sense to me, but do people crash because of that? How much better are the clipless things than just leather straps.

i was under the impression that foot retention is really only important when standing up sprinting but I'm clueless. I've never used it, am I missing out?
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Old 07-27-21, 06:37 AM
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If you want to experiment with foot retention, without spending lots of money for special pedals and shoes, I suggest duct tape.
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Old 07-27-21, 06:45 AM
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Easy bolt on…never had my foot slip out!

I can wear any shoes with these…easy in and out…
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Old 07-27-21, 06:47 AM
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Clip petals help with putting power into the petals. GCN+ just released a video on clip petals. Where they measured how much clip petals help with your petal stroke.
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Old 07-27-21, 06:49 AM
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Old 07-27-21, 06:59 AM
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I come from a mtn.biking background, and always used flat pedals with pins. When I started riding a road bike, I tried "clipless" pedals. Didn't ever get used to them and went back to flats with pins on the road bike also. Never had a problem with my foot slipping off-but I'm not a speed demon by any means. From what I understand, the advantage of clipless is that you can pull on as well as push down while pedaling. For my pace, probably wouldn't make much difference, but others may benefit from being able to pull up.
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Old 07-27-21, 07:22 AM
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Originally Posted by freeranger View Post
I come from a mtn.biking background, and always used flat pedals with pins. When I started riding a road bike, I tried "clipless" pedals. Didn't ever get used to them and went back to flats with pins on the road bike also. Never had a problem with my foot slipping off-but I'm not a speed demon by any means. From what I understand, the advantage of clipless is that you can pull on as well as push down while pedaling. For my pace, probably wouldn't make much difference, but others may benefit from being able to pull up.
I use flats on MTB too, but clipless on the road. The pulling up thing gets mentioned a lot, but I think itís a red herring. Nobody really pulls on their pedals unless they want to injure themselves. Track sprinters are an exception.

I have ďpinnedĒ myself a few times on the mountain bike but I prefer not to be clipped in off road. On road I like the security and precision of clipless pedals.
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Old 07-27-21, 07:28 AM
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Yes, your foot can slip off a pedal, and yes, it can cause crashes. It even happens with clipless pedals when someone comes out of their pedal. But that mostly occurs during sprint efforts, not regular riding. So, if you're just doing rides and not contesting any big sprints, you have little to worry about.

Really thought, I think the bigger danger of flats is if your foot slips off while back pedaling/coasting and the pedal comes around smacks into your shin - I still have a divot in my right shin from that happening decades ago.
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Old 07-27-21, 07:54 AM
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What's the safety impetus for junior bmx riders to not be allowed ages 12-under to use clipless for racing? They claim it's to develop "skills" you'd otherwise not develop.

OK. That's not really a thing in cyclocross where you hop barriers, fly around muddy corners, etc....... So given a similar application the rules rationale falls short it seems.

Reason I brought up bmx, is the over-12 year old elites are allowed to use them and they do use them. So folks who used to say "well bmx sprinters don't use them" is kind of a bum argument.

For casual riding I don't find it relevant at all. For really giving it the beans, yeah, it helps. I think the bigger loss is that if someone chooses to use a squishy running or fitness foam shoe. Even if the loss is 10w (random number), 10w out of a person only putting in 100 to 150w at a casual pace is a very large % loss.

Even run racing shoes now have carbon integrated to them (vaporfly's).
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Old 07-27-21, 07:59 AM
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I feel like she is exaggerating the safety issue. Like so what if my foot slides off the pedal, it happens, never crashed because of it. She is right that I'm riding at above normal intensity when riding with them though.
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Old 07-27-21, 08:23 AM
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Originally Posted by LarrySellerz View Post
I feel like she is exaggerating the safety issue. Like so what if my foot slides off the pedal, it happens, never crashed because of it. She is right that I'm riding at above normal intensity when riding with them though.
It can be really painful in a number of ways. Slip off the pedal when you are pedalling standing and your man-parts might not forgive you. Then there's the pedal coming around and smacking the back of your shin scenario. Not to forget the outer exposed chainring teeth potentially embedding themselves in your leg if you slip off when in the small ring. Also there is a chance of a crash as you suddenly get jarred off balance. But these are not the main reasons why I prefer to be clipped into road pedals. I just prefer the precision and locked-in feel of them. Off-road I prefer to have my feet loose to dab a foot down more easily and not have to fumble around re-clipping after every dab or stop. But I do get the odd minor injury from slipping off the pedals when I'm being careless or just tired. That's the worst thing about pinned pedals, they are weapons!
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Old 07-27-21, 08:27 AM
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Personally, I don't feel truly "one" with the bike unless I am clipped in.

That said, it's a personal preference issue and you may want to try flats, toe clips (with and without straps) as well as clip-in cleats to decide.

I think unless you are talking an all-out sprint while racing, the safety issue is bogus.
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Old 07-27-21, 08:29 AM
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Foot retention is overrated -- for me. I use it on my road bikes -- toe clips in ye olden dayes of yore, clipless now -- but not on my hybrids. Looking at my data over the past few years, there's little correlation between my best performances and foot retention. My fastest times on my 1993 Trek 5900 OCLV were still set during the first week after I bought it from a friend in 2019, when I was still using platform pedals on that bike.

Besides the two or three GCN videos that showed little difference between platform pedals and foot retention, Lachlan Morton finished much, perhaps most, of his alt-Tour de France with platform pedals and sandals or casual shoes, after developing knee pain foot sores during his first few days using clipless. No differences in his average speed, power, etc.

Check some of the news coverage of Lachlan's solo unsupported TdF. The guy is remarkable. He also briefly held the Everesting record last year. He's a member of the EF team, but mostly rides mixed terrain endurance stuff, crazy distances, etc.

Occasionally I'll switch to one of my bikes with platform pedals when I develop knee or hip problems. I can move my feet around freely to suit myself, rather than being locked into one position. Although clipless cleats with float are much better than my old school toe clips and fixed cleats with no float -- in my teens and 20s back in the 1970s, the conventional wisdom for setting up cleats nearly wrecked my knees. I have long, narrow feet with high arches and should have had the shop set the cleats closer to mid-foot. But the conventional wisdom back then was to set the cleats under the ball of the foot. With clipless I can scoot the cleats back a bit, although they still don't quite reach mid-foot. And the float really helps.

The only advantage I've found to foot retention is it enables me to change pedaling styles as I get tired. As I've aged (63 now) my cardio and respiratory have lost some mojo, so I can't spin consistently at 90-100 rpm like I used to. Foot retention definitely helps with spinning at high rpms. But now I prefer a slower cadence, around 75 rpm overall, and on climbs around 60 rpm. So I'm basically mashing. Foot retention has no effect with that pedaling technique.

Still, when my legs tire from mashing up enough climbs, it's nice to be able to gear down and spin for awhile, consciously lifting a bit on the pedals while the quads and calves recover. Early this morning I tackled a 30 mile route that's all rollers, lots of short steep climbs around 10%, hardly any extended flat terrain, and it was nice to be able to switch between mashing at slow rpms and spinning easier gears to keep the overall effort low. This is supposed to be an easy recovery week after three consecutive hard effort weeks -- and I'd done a brisk 6 mile walk in 100F afternoon temps yesterday afternoon, so my legs weren't fresh. But when my legs and engine are fresh, I can't say I really care whether I'm using clipless or platforms because I'm mostly pushing down as hard as I can, not lifting the pedals.

And in casual group rides around the city, I prefer platform pedals because of the frequent stops and slow-downs. Clipless is a PITA when we stop so often. And I've seen several friends fall at stops from not unclipping in time. I can't afford any more falls -- my shoulder was broken and separated in 2018 when I was hit by a car, and exams showed I had early onset osteopenia. Not osteoporosis, yet, but it runs in the family. And the full body imaging showed I had several old healed fractures that I wasn't aware of, especially the ribs. I remember some painful torso injuries but never bothered to go to the ER because there isn't much they can do about cracked ribs. There was no compound fracture, no crackling or risk of perforating my lungs or organs, so I just toughed it out. But I didn't realize I had so many old fractured ribs, vertebrae, etc.

So I prefer no foot retention for city rides. I'm considering switching my favorite old steel road bike from Look Delta pedals to platforms. Turns out one of my favorite running shoes (Atreyu) are great for cycling too -- very grippy on the iSSi Thump pedals on my hybrid, just enough firmness and density in the midsole that I don't feel the pins through the soles.

But I'll keep the carbon fiber road bikes clipless for longer spirited rides. Doesn't do any harm. I'm not faster with clipless but it's handy to be able to switch pedaling techniques between spinning and mashing.
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Old 07-27-21, 08:33 AM
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Sup Larry! Yeah, she's looking after your essential bits, shows definite interest on her part. Plus she may be encouraging you to look less like a doofus when you are out with the group.
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Old 07-27-21, 08:41 AM
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Originally Posted by shelbyfv View Post
Sup Larry! Yeah, she's looking after your essential bits, shows definite interest on her part. Plus she may be encouraging you to look less like a doofus when you are out with the group.

Don't think she is worried about my bits, and I asked her if showing up with no kit/no helmet on my hybrid is seen as antisocial, she claimed that no its not, and she just wants me to succeed. But I guess if people are genuinely scared or disconcerted by my lack of foot retention I should get some cleats or cages. I look like a doofus but frankly cars think im pretty cool and they hate my group, so I might be a net benefit to them.

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Old 07-27-21, 09:02 AM
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if it's a real concern that the person has for your safety, then suggest them to buy all the needed items to swap you over to clipless without any contingencies or financial repayment.

Should clipless not fit your riding style, you're only out time but can sell the stuff for some other things you may rather have.
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Old 07-27-21, 09:11 AM
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Eh.

Some believe it's a safety thing.

You can believe what you want but I can tell you from direct experience that coming out or off of a pedal is a safety issue.

Those that don't really push their bikes while shoulder to shoulder with 50 of their closest friends might not really see the point but having had to start a crit on flat pedals because I forgot my shoes was a completely eye-opening experience. After the first corner it was obvious I wasn't going to be able to produce enough power to stay in the game and I had WAY less control of the bike.

So yeah if you're just riding a coffee ride with a couple pensioners then no worries. If it's the Wednesday Night Worlds ride then...try it with some foot retention.
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Old 07-27-21, 09:11 AM
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It's about spinning. Nothing like it. I recommend.
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Old 07-27-21, 10:30 AM
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I've pulled out of clipless pedals in sprint efforts, but I don't know if Larry has hammies and hip flexors like me, so it might not be an issue.
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Old 07-27-21, 10:31 AM
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Originally Posted by MinnMan View Post
It's about spinning. Nothing like it. I recommend.
ive been training on a single speed (not fixed) and my max cadence has increased a ton. Do you think foot retention will change how I spin and make me more efficient? I've heard this is a cycling old wives tale that's not actually true
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Old 07-27-21, 10:32 AM
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Originally Posted by Ed Wiser View Post
Clip petals help with putting power into the petals. GCN+ just released a video on clip petals. Where they measured how much clip petals help with your petal stroke.
I saw one that GCN did on that topic showing some difference especially out of the saddle sprints. Probably something there, but bear in mind those guys donít ride that way much. If you ride thousands of miles, all year long, year after year without clips, you donít ever give it a thought.

That said, foot retention is not generally needed to be a vigorous and safe rider (with the except of track riding and probably fixed gear in general.)

OTOH, itís pretty much essential for racing in just about any form or circumstance (except maybe BMX?). YMMV.

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Old 07-27-21, 10:43 AM
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Originally Posted by ofajen View Post
I saw one that GCN did on that topic showing some difference especially out of the saddle sprints. Probably something there, but bear in mind those guys donít ride that way much. If you ride thousands of miles, all year long, year after year without clips, you donít ever give it a thought.

That said, foot retention is not generally needed to be a vigorous and safe rider (with the except of track riding and probably fixed gear in general.)

OTOH, itís pretty much essential for racing in just about any form or circumstance (except maybe BMX?). YMMV.

Otto
why is it essential for road racing? my ride is like a race
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Old 07-27-21, 10:47 AM
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Originally Posted by PeteHski View Post
The pulling up thing gets mentioned a lot, but I think it’s a red herring. Nobody really pulls on their pedals unless they want to injure themselves.
I often pull up on the pedals when climbing out of the saddle. It definitely adds significant force into the cranks on those short and steep sections.

I have never injured myself while pulling up on the pedals.
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Old 07-27-21, 10:57 AM
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Originally Posted by LarrySellerz View Post
why is it essential for road racing? my ride is like a race
When you have to do absolutely maximum power, even for a short time, to avoid being dropped or join the breakaway, you need maximum advantage and may have to pedal super fast to accelerate. When straining your limits like that, foot retention helps keep things simple and on track.

When youíre not racing, a little bit less will probably do and maintaining control is easy either way. I ride single speed, too, and foot retention is not required for vigorous and safe SS riding. Nothing wrong with it, though!

Otto
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Old 07-27-21, 11:00 AM
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Iím not sure how much of a safety issue it is, or how much it improves performance in an objective, measurable wayóbesides on fast uphill sprints, where foot retention definitely makes a difference by allowing you to pull up at the back of the crankís circle.

In my own experience, clipless > straps > platforms, by a wide margin. I feel theyíve helped me more than any other upgrade, and I would recommend them over anything else in terms of benefit per dollar spent, except maybe wheels and tires if youíre rolling on something really heavy.

When I just want to cruise around at a casual pace, any pedals will do. If Iím on any kind of serious, focused ride, I wouldnít consider going without retention.
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